Do. I Do.
nuptials had to be even cheesier than the first. Naturally, I opted
for Vegas. Viva Las Vegas. At only $40 a pop, the Little White Chapel's
legendary drive-thru wedding was ideal.
our rented Subaru pulled up to the takeout-style window, I imagined
shouting, "I'll have a small fries, a coke, and a McMarriage,
please." How had I become the kind of gal who didn't even have
the decency to stand up on her own wedding day?
the INS being so disorganized and backlogged, it would be yet another
year before I was appointed Green Card Interview -- Take Two. By
then Husband Two was long gone. We broke up shortly after watching
Addicted to Love, with Meg Ryan. Everything gelled during
the scene where French Guy tells Mathew Broderick's character, "You
can't choose who you love."
dense had I been? Of course -- you can't choose who you love!! Love
isn't rational. It's not about what the other person does for you.
It's about how you feel about them.
Two had served as a custom-made cocoon, which I'd used to transform
into the electric blue Morpho butterfly I'd always imagined myself
to be. But if I wanted to flutter around in the States, I needed
a spouse. I didn't even know where he lived anymore. All I had was
a P.O. Box number. By most people's definition -- ours was now officially
a "sham wedding."
investigators look into about 2,000 marriages a year. Officials
cannot state how many are fake, but fraud can bring up to five years
in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Deportation is always involved
and you spend the rest of your life referring to America as Never
Never Land. My case was especially dubious because I'd already been
I tracked Husband Number Two down. We met at a Chinese restaurant
in West Hollywood. As suspected, he wanted nothing more to do with
me. I'd broken his heart; deflated his dreams. I was to him what
Husband One had been to me.
going to have to be intimate if you want me to pull this off. I
have to connect with those feelings or else they'll sense how cold
I am toward you," he said nonchalantly as he smooshed a grain
of rice with his index finger.
on my Peking dumpling.
me get this straight. You are asking me to prostitute myself? What
kind of human being do you want to be?" I blurted. "I
had no idea you could stoop this low. You made a promise. This is
about being a man of your word. You know Husband Two, I'll go back
to Canada if I have to. Enjoy your Mu Shu."
week before Showtime he somehow changed his mind. But now we had
to win the INS's demented version of the Newlywed Game. There
was no telling what they would ask, all in hopes of determining
whether we had a "shared life." Fortunately, I had spent
the entire relationship collecting documents: joint bank accounts
and tax returns; a rental agreement with both our names on it. And
since Husband Two was a photographer, I had tons of snaps. The only
thing we'd forgotten were rings, which we picked up at Venice Beach
for $15 each.
your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth?" the officer declared.
do," I lied.
you been married before?"
do you do Husband Two?"
am a photographer," he replied.
do you reside together seven days a week?"
Where were you born Miss?"
see here that you're of Egyptian descent. Are you a member of any
interview had unfolded post 9/11. Who knew that the tragedy would
take the heat off my first marriage and actually help me? But what
kind of question was this? Yeah officer, and if you fuck with me
and don't give me my Green Card you're gong to have to say hello
to my turban-wearing friends.
sir. I've never been to Egypt. I am not even Muslim," I quietly
You get me a certified copy of your marriage certificate and I will
stamp your passport."
do you wanna see any pictures?"
it's okay. I believe you. Just bring me that certified copy."
it could be more dramatic for the purposes of my story, but the
interview was over in seven minutes.
I own a certificate of permanent residency that allows me the luxury
of roaming wildly across the land of the free. But to gain freedom,
I had to lose my faith in lasting love. As far as being a two-time
divorcee at 31 -- I don't care. I've never really been married.
A bible oath, or a State's permission, is not what forges matrimony.
Marriage is a sacred union between two souls; it's a vow that has
to be continually renewed and respected. So when I do get another
go, I intend to rise in love rather than hopelessly fall in. Who
knows, perhaps the third time is a charm.
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